Bio (Long Version)
Julie’s music education started early with parents who appreciated and listened to a wide variety of music and played as a hobby periodically throughout their lives and a church home where music was highly valued. She had the privilege to go to public schools in which music was viewed as an essential part of a well-rounded education. Her kindergarten teacher, Mrs Harvey, played Jacqueline du Pre records during rest time, and maybe that’s what lit that first spark of inspiration. Julie chose the cello as the instrument she wanted to begin in 4th grade when all students had the opportunity to choose a string instrument to learn. She was drawn to the sound of the cello, and had no desire to play anything else. When her first teacher, Miss Ford told her she didn’t think they had a cello small enough for her to play, Julie stood firm that it was cello or nothing. So Miss Ford, who was of small stature herself, let her play and the rest is history!
Julie went on to play all the way through her years in the Shrewsbury Public Schools, eventually taking private lessons from Becky (Ford) Sjogren and Barbara Paschke. She played in the Worcester Youth Symphony and the Greater Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras as well as District and All-State Festival Orchestras.
Julie majored in Cello Performance at the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford, where she studied with Steven Thomas, and was coached by David Wells, Margreet Francis, and Terry King. It was at Hartt that she began to explore the Suzuki Method, knowing that she had a strong desire to teach the cello. During her years there, during the school year as well as the Summer Institute, she had the opportunity to get to know, observe and learn from Nancy Hair, Teri Einfeldt, Linda and Domenic Fiore, Rick Mooney and Pam Devenport. Upon finishing her undergraduate work, Julie decided to pursue long-term Suzuki teacher training with Carol Tarr at the Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver.
In Denver, Julie continued her own cello studies with Richard Slavich and was coached by Jerilyn Jorgensen, Kitty Knight and Basil Vendryes. She completed her Violin Book One Suzuki teacher training with James Maurer, trained in Musikgarten for birth to age 5 and taught through the Denver Talent Education program. Julie played in the Denver String Quartet, did some work with the Denver Philharmonic Orchestra, was the music director of Destination Freedom: Black Radio Days under director Donnie Betts, worked on several recording projects and maintained a large private studio. She directed the “Con Brio” (youngest age group) Choir at Park Hill United Methodist Church and was on the faculty for the Park Hill Chamber Music Camp as well as the Rocky Mountain Cello Institute.
During her time studying with Carol Tarr and Richard Slavich, she grew immensely as a cellist and teacher and was inspired to figure out how to make the high-quality music education she was learning about and observing at Suzuki Workshops and Institutes accessible to every child. She wanted to take “Every Child Can” a few more steps so that “Every Child Has the Opportunity”. Knowing that she was afforded the opportunity to play her instrument because of the public school that she attended, and likely would not otherwise have known about/had the opportunity, was not lost on her, and she wanted to work to offer that opportunity in communities where it didn’t already exist.
In 1999, the church Julie was attending (Colorado Community Church- Aurora Campus) was partnering with Youth for Christ in the “City Life Center” in Northeast Aurora involving a food pantry and programs for children including a martial arts studio. There was one public school a little south and west of that area that was offering an after-school violin program, but no other string programs in the area. Youth for Christ brought Julie on board to start a string instrument program nearby and City Strings was born. Students received instruments to use while participating in the program and had weekly private lessons and group classes. Younger siblings and others also participated in Musikgarten early childhood music classes. In 2001, Julie brought City Strings under the organizational umbrella of Augustana Arts, where it continues to this day.
In 2004, Julie met Dan Carew who complemented her in all kinds of ways, including his sense of adventure and his skills on the guitar. They married in 2005, added Dominick, a stray black cat who wandered into their house and won them over with his wise green eyes and spunky personality, to their family, and recorded their first “album” together in 2006. In 2007, they moved (back, for Julie) to Massachusetts. Living just north of Boston, Julie taught in the Lynn Public Schools, as well as at the Community Music Center of Boston (where she directed the Beginner Ensemble and started the CMCB Cellos), the Suzuki School of Newton, the Powers Music School, and maintained a small home studio. After adding another cat (a sweet, loud, deaf tuxedo named Hero) and a couple of kids to the family, they decided it was time for another adventure. They spent much of the summer of 2015 on a cross-country road trip, visiting friends and family and dreaming about what might be next. Dan was itching to get out of the city (maybe his Alaskan roots at work) and Julie was up for something new, so they compromised and headed to Western Massachusetts, the unceded land of the Abenaki, Wabenaki and Pocomtuck peoples in what was renamed Greenfield by colonizers in Western Massachusetts. Greenfield seemed like a bit of a sweet spot for them, so in 2016, they relocated. Julie started a home cello studio and began teaching for Artspace Community Arts Center and in the Strings for Kids program in the Greenfield Public Schools. Julie is now the director of Strings for Kids, a member of NERO (New England Repertory Orchestra) and the Education Programs Director at the Pioneer Valley Symphony.